Maricopa County juvenile runaway chased down after stealing beer from gas station

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – Two customers chased down a would-be juvenile beer thief after the youth grabbed two six-packs of Corona beer late Monday night. It was later learned that the suspected shoplifter was a 15-year-old male who had run away from a group home in Maricopa County and that he had an arrest warrant as well.

According to a Safford Police report, an officer was dispatched at about 10:35 p.m. to the Speedway gas station at 750 S. 8th Ave. regarding a shoplifting incident.

Upon arrival, the clerk advised the officer that an unknown male had stolen two six-packs of Corona beer bottles and that two other unknown customers had chased after him. The clerk advised that the suspect ran north on 8th Avenue and that the Good Samaritans managed to catch up with him and got the beer back. They returned the beer to the store and told the clerk where they had last seen the suspect.

An officer located a subject matching the description of the shoplifter at the intersection of 8th Avenue and U.S. Highway 70. The suspect allegedly admitted to trying to steal the beer and said he had run away from a group home in Maricopa County.

He said he had been in the custody of the Department of Child Services for the past three years since his dad went to prison. He advised he didn’t know where his mom lived and that he has mental problems and most recently had been living homeless on the streets.

The juvenile was arrested for his warrant and transported to the Safford Police Department. The youth was referred to the Graham County Juvenile Probation Department for shoplifting, and a probation officer transported the youth back to Maricopa County.